DraftKings Week 8 Values and Top Plays

DraftKings Week 8 Values and Top Plays

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Oct 23, 2014

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Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Pro and the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. His latest book, How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports, is a data-driven guide to winning on DraftKings. He is also (unofficially) sponsored by GrubHub.

Follow Jonathan Bales on Twitter: @BalesFootball.

It’s a problem that has challenged man for centuries: balancing value with low ownership on DraftKings.

On one hand, we want the players who offer the most value because we can generally squeeze the most points out of our lineups. Every pick comes with an opportunity cost—namely the opportunity to add better players at other positions—so we’re always trying to reduce that cost to construct the best possible combination of players.

On the other hand, so is everyone else. When a starting running back goes does and his backup offers sensational value, everyone pretty much knows that. And when there’s very obvious value, you have a choice to make: get that player into your lineup, or fade him to move away from the crowd.

There are times when each course of action is appropriate; for the most part, we need to take each decision on a case-by-case basis. But keep in mind that any time we can reduce expected player usage without decreasing the quality or projection of our lineup, that’s a positive.

So how can that be done? Predicting usage can sometimes be a tricky thing. There are times when it’s obvious that a player will be really popular, but other times that I’m left scratching my head. I’ve developed two little tricks to help figure out which players will have the highest ownership, though.


1) Note small pricing quirks.

Normally, users look at the salaries and sort of determine who they’ll choose based on how they’re ranked. Sometimes, the ranks are misleading because there will be very small (or very large) differences in pricing.

This week, for example, Tony Romo is the fifth-priciest quarterback in the Millionaire Maker. That seems excessive, but he’s actually a full $700 behind fourth-ranked Drew Brees—the same difference between Brees and Andrew Luck. It wouldn’t really change Romo’s value all that much if he were a few hundred bucks cheaper, but he’d slide down the ranks a bit and appear to offer much more value (and would probably be much more popular of a pick).

That’s why the DraftKings Value Report offers so much…value. It’s a purely mathematical look at things so that you don’t get fooled by pricing structure.

A second way to predict usage is when players are the same price. When that happens, almost every user will go with the better player who offers more value (which is generally obvious). If the difference in value isn’t extreme, though, I like to use the worse player. You’re giving up a modest amount of points in exchange for dramatically lower usage.


2) Analyze DraftKings’ matchup strength.

Second, understand how DraftKings’ matchup ranks might affect the perception of players. The ranks are based solely on bulk points, so there’s a lot of variance there, even at this point in the season. Many times, things aren’t as beneficial or as dire as they appear.

I like to compare the DraftKings ranks to the matchup rankings here at 4for4—ranks that adjust for strength of schedule. When there are big differences, it can make sense to jump on players who appear to have poor matchups on DraftKings because you’ll generally see reduced usage.


Editor's Note: You can get a free year of 4for4 by opening a new account and depositing at DraftKings. Details here.


DraftKings Week 8 Value Plays

High QB: Drew Brees, New Orleans vs Green Bay, $8100

This just seems like the type of game in which Brees is going to erupt. He’s at home, he should have Jimmy Graham back at least a little healthier (monitor that, because it’s really important), and the projected vegas total is climbing over 55 points.

Also, as “bad” as Brees has been this year, he’s thrown for fewer than 293 yards just once. It’s just been a matter of racking up touchdowns—something Vegas suggests he should be able to do in this matchup.


Low QB: Matthew Stafford, Detroit at Atlanta, $6500

Note that because the NFL is r***ly weird, this game is going to be played before anyone wakes up, so Stafford isn’t available for the Millionaire Maker or any Sunday leagues. I guess it’s kind of cool that a game will be on TV in the morning, but not really because it will mess with my pre-game process of not eating anything until lineups lock and my girlfriend and dog are incessantly barking at me. One of them has a deep, fierce bark that stings my eardrums, and the other is my dog.

About Stafford…Megatron or not, he’s underpriced. He costs $100 more than Mike Glennon and $200 more than Kyle Orton for Mohammad’s sake.


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